In today’s faster-than-ever-paced world, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to have all the technology they need at their fingertips in order to survive. In the event of a disaster especially, if organizations want to offset their losses, they need to be able to access and recover their data and infrastructure as quickly as possible. Continuous data protection can help with this.
True continuous data protection (CDP) is real time replication of data as it is being written to disk. Each time a change is made, it is copied to a separate disk when that change is made. With continuous data protection, there is no interval of time between data replications. You can achieve minimal RPO and ensure the data at your recovery site is as up to date as possible with your production site. This type of replication is used with warm and hot site disaster recovery.
There is also near CDP, where the same concept is applied using replication; however, it uses snapshots to recover to a certain point in time. This leaves the user unable to recover to ANY point in time he or she wishes. Near CDP has specific points of recovery that are much more frequent than traditional backup (say, every hour instead of every 24), but you don’t have the ability to return to any point in time you wish, as you can with true CDP.
While continuous data protection is a key component of disaster recovery and by extension business continuity, it is NOT a replacement for backup. You should still back up your data to an offsite location to ensure the integrity of it is not lost. If your A site becomes corrupted for any reason, it’s going to be replicated over to your B site, possibly instantly, and if you don’t have a backup copy, you could be in a lot of trouble. For most organizations, data corruptions can go undetected for a long period of time (weeks or months), and CDP is a very expensive option to rely on for backup because of the sheer volume of data points to comb through to find the proper restoration point. However, continuous data protection is a solid replication option, and combined with offsite backup can help build a robust disaster recovery plan.
True continuous data protection, while becoming more and more popular, is also expensive, so unless you require an RPO of minutes, or even seconds, near CDP is still a fine method that can work well for your organization.
Continuous data protection is only one component of your overall Disaster Recovery plan, and Disaster Recovery as a Service. There are many more aspects to consider when you are implementing your overall plan. However, this step is an important one that can help keep your business running as smoothly as possible, and it shouldn’t be neglected.